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1896 meeting
1898 meeting
The International Football Association Board meeting  

Minutes of the Annual Meeting, held at the Mourne Hotel, Rostrevor, Monday, June 14th, 1897.


MR. D. W. FOY  (Irish Football Association), in the Chair.
   "    JOHN REID             "                  "               Secretary.
MESSRS. C. CRUMP and R. P. GREGSON, Football Association.
         "       D. MACKENZIE and J. A. D. M'LEAN, Scottish Association.
  "       E. ROBERTSHAW and C. HUGHES, Welsh Association.

The Minutes of the last Meeting, held at Aberystwyth, were duly confirmed.

Proposals submitted for alterations in the LAWS OF THE GAME were considered.


Law 13.—Add to Rule.—In the event of any infringement of this Law taking place after the ball is out of play, the Referee shall be at liberty to enforce the Law.

The meeting decided that Law 12 covered this proposal, which was withdrawn, and the following added to Law 12: "The power of the Referee extends to offences committed when the play has been temporarily suspended, or the ball is out of play."


LAW 1.The limits of the ground shall be maximum length, 200 yards ; minimum length, 100 yards ; maximum breadth, 100 yards ; minimum breadth, 50 yards. The length and breadth shall be marked off with four flags, with staffs not less than five feet high, and goal and touch lines. Lines defining 6 yards from each goal post and twelve yards from the goal lines shall also be marked out. The centre of the ground shall be indicated by a suitable mark, and a circle with a ten yards radius shall be made round it. The goals shall be upright posts, eight yards apart with a bar across them, eight feet from the ground. The maximum width of the goal posts and the maximum depth of the cross bar shall be five inches ; and in International matches, at the commencement of the game, the weight of the ball shall be from 13 to 15 ounces.

That the position of the goal be defined.

LAW 4.A goal shall be won when the ball has passed between the goal posts under the bar, not being thrown, knocked on, or carried by anyone on the attacking side. The ball is in play if it rebounds from a goal post, cross bar, or a corner flag staff, into the field of play. The ball is in play if it touches the Referee or a Linesman when in the field of play. The ball crossing the goal or touch-line, either on the ground or in the air, is out of play.

LAW 5.Line 4, substitute "field of play" for "ground."
The Association requests the International Board to define the words "stand on the touch-line" (5th line).

LAW 8.After the word "shall," in the first line, add "wilfully."

LAW 9.Omit the word "flag" in line 5.

LAW 10."The goal-keeper shall not be charged unless he be holding the ball, or obstructing an opponent," is substituted for the last sentence.

LAW 11.For iron plates, in line 3, substitute "metal plates or projections." Bars shall be transverse and flat, line 8. Studs shall be round in plan, in line 10.

LAW 13.—"If any player shall intentionally trip, hold, push an opponent or charge from behind, or wilfully handle the ball," is substituted for the present first two lines.

Omit the words "on appeal" in line 4.


PLACE KICK.—A Place Kick is a kick at the ball while it is on the ground, in the centre of the field of play.

FREE KICK.—Omit the last sentence : "A Free Kick must not be taken until the Referee has given the signal for the same.

The above proposals were withdrawn, and the Laws of the game, as amended and altered by the Football Association, were considered.

LAW 1.Added to Law."The game should be played by 11 players on each side." Alterations.—"The dimensions of the field shall bemaximum length, 130 yards ; minimum length, 100 yards ; maximum breadth, 100 yards ; minimum breadth, 50 yards." Added to Law."The touch-lines shall be drawn at right angles with the goal-lines."

The word "Association" deleted.

Added to Law.—"In International matches the dimensions of the field shall be—maximum length, 120 yards ; minimum length, 110 yards ; maximum breadth, 80 yards ; minimum breadth, 70 yards.

LAW 2.Added to Law."The duration of the game shall be 90 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed." The words "field of play" substituted for the word "ground," "opponents" for "opposite," and "opponents" for "other side.

LAW 3.Added to Law."The interval at half-time shall not exceed five minutes, except by consent of the refree." The word "scored" instead of "won."

LAW 4.—"Scored" instead of "won," "nor" instead of "or," "any player" instead of "anyone."

LAW 5.—"Touch" instead of "boundary." The word "again" inserted.

LAW 6.—"Throwing-in" instead of "throwing," "his" instead of "the," "nor" instead of "or," "opponent" instead of "other players."

LAW 7.—"A player" instead of "one," "an opponent shall not be" instead of "no opponent shall be."

LAW 8.—The word "wilfully" inserted before the word "handle" in first line, "field of play" instead of "ground." "The goal-keeper may be changed, &c., &c.,—This sentence altered to : "The goal-keeper may be changed during the game, but notice of such change must first be given to the referee."

LAW 9.—No alteration.

LAW 10.—Following changes were made :-"Kicking" for "hacking," "a player shall not" instead of "adversary," "a player shall not" instead of "no player may," "is" instead of "be." Last sentence altered to read : "The goal-keeper shall not be charged except when he is holding the ball or obstructing an opponent."

LAW 11.—"A player shall not" instead of "no player shall," "on his boots" instead of "on the soles or heels of his boots," "Law" instead of "Rule." Added to Law.—"The Referee may be required to examine the players' boots before the commencement of the match."

LAW 12.—"Laws" instead of "Rules," "going on" deleted, "and" deleted, "players" instead of "contestants," "order" instead of "rule," "off the field of play" instead of "out of play." Alteration.—"The Referee shall have power to suspend the game when he thinks fit, and also to terminate the game when reason of darkness, interference by spectators, or other cause he may deem necessary ; but in all cases where a game is so terminated he shall report the same to the Association under whose jurisdiction the game was played, who shall have power to deal with the matter. The Referee shall have power, &c., &c." Added to Law.—"The power of the Referee extends to offences committed when the play has been temporarily suspended or the ball is out of play."

LAW 13.—Formerly part of Law 12.—"Two Linesmen shall be appointed, whose duty (subject to the decision of the Referee) shall be to decide when the ball is out of play and which side is entitled to the corner-kick, goal-kick, or throw-in, and to assist in carrying out the game accordng to the Laws. Any undue interference by a Linesman shall be reported by the Referee to the National Association to which the Linesman belongs, who shall deal with the matter as they may deem necessary."

LAW 14.—Old Law "13" renumbered "14."

"Opponents" instead of "opposing side," "opponents" instead of "opposing."

LAW 15.—Old Law "14" renumbered "15," old Law "15" incorporated with Law "12."

LAW 16.—No alteration.

LAW 17.—"Awarded" instead of "forfeited."


"Hacking, is kicking, &c.," to be deleted.
"Tripping."—"Opponent" instead of "adversary."
"Handling," is wilfully playing the ball with the hand or arm.
"Carrying," is taking more than two steps while holding the ball or bouncing it on the hand.


RULE 3.—It was agreed to alter "1st February" to "1st April," and "1st March" to 20th April."

The meeting discussed the question of Domicile, in connection with players eligible for International matches, and adjourned their decision until next meeting.

It was decided that the Laws of the Game be printed, with a descriptive title to each Law.

The question of players signing League forms for clubs whilst registered as professionals for another Association from that to which the club belongs, was considered. The Board were unanimously of the opinion that legislation was desirable on this subject, and that the matter be formally considered at next meeting. In the meantime, the S.F.A. to give notice by resolution.

Proposed by Mr. M'LEAN, seconded by Mr. GREGSON, and passed:-

"That each National Association shall forward the names of three Referees to the International Board on or before 1st April, said names to be approved of by the Board and forwarded to each of the National Associations. In International matches the home Association shall select the Referee from the list as passed by the Board."

It was agreed, at next meeting, to make provision for a penalty-kick line 18 yards  from goal.

To re-model Law 12.

D. W. FOY, Chairman.
J. REID, Secretary.

Confirmed at International Board Meeting held in London, 20th June 1898.